Archives for posts with tag: Northfield

Bournville Village Trust has agreed to acquire and manage some of the 138 homes at the Manor House site, which is being developed by Crest Nicholson. Work on the site will also include plans to rebuild Northfield Manor House, off Bristol Road South, which was demolished after being severely damaged in an arson attack three years ago.

Northfield Manor House was the residence of the Trust’s founder George, and his wife Elizabeth, until her death in 1951. In 1953 it became a hall of residence for the university, but has been empty since 2007 as the University decided it was too expensive to upgrade.

It is not legally listed with English Heritage, but has an informal grade A status on Birmingham City Council’s local advisory list of historic buildings. The English Heritage website (no general access) records that a farm house, part of the Manor of Northfield belonging to the Jervoise family, was recorded as being on the site circa 1750. In 1809 the estate was purchased by Daniel Ledsam, a London merchant. It is believed that he made alterations to the house and was responsible for the current main building.

This picture came from coverage on this site in 2014.

Local historian Dr Carl Chinn urged the university to stop the demolition of the fire-damaged building and consult local people through community groups and their elected representatives over the future of this building. He advocated restoration of the building, in partnership with the community.

The University’s vice-principal, Professor Adam Tickell, said that the planning application had been revived and now included provision for the rebuilding of the manor house, despite the demolition of most of the structure.

The Manor House is to be rebuilt in the original style with Georgian and Arts & Crafts facades and the decorative details of the exterior of the building in stone and brickwork, render and timber. The form and proportions of the 18th century manor will be retained but the interior will be divided into apartments.







A reader alerts all to National Express West Midlands’ review of Birmingham’s bus network. Here we focus on proposals in one area:

Its website says that traffic is getting worse, making journeys slower. Some routes are now 10 minutes slower than they were three years ago. This means fewer passengers, which is bad for the economy and social inclusion. Some might switch to cars, making congestion and pollution worse.


Route 27 may not operate and could be replaced in some areas by changes to other routes, some of which may be run by other operators. This is particularly disturbing in that if this proposal goes ahead, it will leave a significant part of Bournville without any public transport. There would be no link up with Bournville Railway station which is a common stop for commuters from parts of Bournville who daily use the 27 to get to and from the railway station.

Stirchley and Bournville residents working in Northfield or visiting the banks and shopping centre there would also feel the impact of the loss of the 27, the only direct service.

Bournville Conservative Party has set up a petition to be submitted to National Express West Midlands, Birmingham City Council and Transport for West Midlands:

One main route is proposed on the Pershore Road – the  76 being diverted to serve Cartland Road and Pineapple Road instead of Dogpool Lane.

Maypole and Shirley readers need to consider the impact of merging routes 2 & 3

There would be only one route 3 with all buses running via Stoney Ln in Sparkbrook, and Trittiford Rd, Priory Rd, School Rd, Ravenshill Rd and Priory Rd to the Slade Lane terminus.

Would the proposal to run route 49 via Highters Heath Ln, School Rd and Yardley Wood Rd between Maypole Ln and Solihull Lodge compensate?

All South Birmingham residents are invited to take part in a consultation: click this link to be taken to the survey:





ob 2 lgc

The Boundary Commission recently published recommendations for new ward boundaries which ignored the proposals put forward by the Moseley community.

Today, the Brummie highlights proposals to merge the Jewellery Quarter and Winson Green districts into a single city council ward. The Jewellery Quarter Neighbourhood Forum is calling for its own council ward and councillor. Hall Green, Erdington, Acocks Green and Longbridge have also objected to the proposals of the Local Government Boundary Commission

isobel2 knowlesAt a Stirchley Forum meeting on Monday, the chair of the Moseley Forum, Isobel Knowles (right), invited all to a meeting about the Local Government Boundary Commission proposals for a new Moseley Ward.

It will be held on Saturday in the Main Hall at Queensbridge School, Moseley B13 8QB, 10:30am-12pm.

As the illogical division of areas like Moseley, Northfield and Selly Oak was described, one comment was that the civil servants had been handed a map and a ruler and told to get on with it. One bizarre result is in Northfield, where a boundary is running through the middle of one building.

Moseley will be divided, with Moseley Village, Park, Hospital and Farmers’ Market placed in a new Balsall Heath and Cannon Hill ward and the conservation areas split in half.

mose;ey boundary proposals map

The Commission’s stated aim is “to ensure that the pattern of wards reflects the interests and identities of local communities”. In this instance, the aim has been misdirected and proposals made which – in the opinion of residents in at least eight city wards – will damage the interests and identity of these communities.


For more information, or to respond, go to the Boundary Commission by 8th February, 2016 via or to The Review Officer (Birmingham), Local Government Boundary Commission for England, 14th Floor, Millbank Tower, Millbank, London SW1P 4QP

MPCT college logo

A link to news of the January opening of Birmingham’s new Military Preparation College (MPCT) on the campus of Balaam Wood Academy, Northfield, was sent by a local reader.

MCPT is a specialist college for 16-18 year olds interested in pursuing a career in the armed forces. 15 students have enrolled on the 20 week programme, after which they can apply to the armed forces or progress into further education, training or employment.

Local VIPs, armed forces personnel and other guests were presented with energetic demonstrations of drill marching, public speaking, physical training and a team log race. In March, Tristram Hunt MP visited the college and saw MPCT learners demonstrating the type of active learning that they undergo day-to-day, including communication, teambuilding and leadership tasks.

No reference was made to their ‘end function’ or the real meaning of warfare

harry patch quote


bham air pollution

Six days after the site highlighted BFOE’s campaign about air pollution, the BBC news website published this picture. An Observer editorial reinforced their message:

“Each year, 29,000 premature deaths, mostly from strokes and heart attacks, are caused by air pollution. This is greater than those deaths triggered annually by obesity or passive smoking . . . For years, the EU has been warning Britain that it faces being fined £300m a year for failing to make drastic reductions in levels of airborne particulate pollutants emitted by cars, lorries and factories”.

BFOEThe latest BFOE newsletter reports that, as part of their “Let’s Get Moving Campaign”, some BFOE members have been collaborating with local primary schools to measure air pollution in Birmingham for the Citizen Science Project. The results of their experiments clearly show a link between busy roads and dangerous Nitrogen dioxide (NO2) concentrations, with some areas exceeding legal limits.

During science and geography lessons, they ran two sessions for children in five primary schools, teaching them about air pollution and its effects on health

They worked with the children to predict air pollution levels in the area that they wanted to test, considering factors such as road size, location of open spaces, train tracks and factories. To test these predictions, measurements were taken of NO2 levels in locations which experienced differing levels of traffic intensity.

The investigations used diffusion tubes to measure the concentration of NO2 in the air. The small plastic tubes contain a chemical reagent to absorb the pollutant to be measured directly from the air and are gripped by a sturdy plastic holder and attached to an appropriate substrate in the area, out of reach. Once set up, these diffusion tubes were left for a two week period. Following retrieval, the tubes were sent for analysis in a laboratory.

The results: most of the results from Nechells were found to greatly exceed legal limits. Some locations in Kings Heath and Harborne were also above or very close to these average limits. The results from Northfield and Digbeth are awaited but a similar result is expected. The children came up with ideas about how to reduce air pollution, including:

  • ensuring that factories and fuels were less polluting,
  • encouraging people to cycle and walk rather than driving,
  • and using public transport, as buses and trains carry more people than cars.
  • They also discussed the potential of electric cars to reduce emissions.

In the short term, they decided that they would avoid the busiest (and most polluted) roads by walking on quieter roads, to decrease the amount of air pollution they breathed in.

Conclusion: It seems that air pollution is a city-wide problem! Local and National Government need to take action. Successive governments, both Labour and Coalition, have simply ignored these warnings, an attitude that the cross-party environmental audit committee has since described as shameful.

ken loach2Having just been sent news of Ken Loach’s new film, Spirit of ’45, an account of the unity that built the post-war welfare state, which was contrasted with the dismantling we are witnessing today, the writer was stunned to find that ‘can do’ spirit alive in Northfield on Saturday. 

A couple of hours later came  dismay – though not surprise – whilst listening to a radio play which unemotionally focussed on probably the most serious and deadly case of deceit, manipulation and coercion by a British prime minister (and cronies), procedures now regularly exposed in the higher political/commercial echelons.

Loach, like the Northfield group, recalled the postwar period: the implementation of the National Health Service and universal child benefit, improvements in National Insurance and the nationalisation of the railways and mines. Loach added that conditions for workers in areas such as safety, housing and minimum wages for dockers, improved dramatically.

As Loach told Laura Davis of the Liverpool Daily Post, this happy situation did not last long: in the 1970s, manufacturing employment fell by a quarter, with 1.2 million jobs lost between 1971-81 and the Conservative Party dropped the Government’s commitment to full employment and introduced a reprivatisation programme. Neither Loach nor the Northfield group added reference to the effect of capital flight abroad following the lifting of capital controls.

There was a remarkable consensus in the otherwise disparate Northfield group, which in age, belief & occupation range represented society at large. Their analysis placed far more emphasis on the huge and widening income gap in society, but otherwise mirrored Loach’s:

“People have been told that this is inevitable, the way the world is like an act of God. It’s not. It’s a conscious choice by politicians acting on behalf of private interests”

“It seems we’ve now come full circle but now poverty expresses itself through obesity and cheap food that is rubbish and does you harm, through drug culture, through alienation and the desperation of unemployment . . . It is much less visible than in the 30s. We found that in trying to find contemporary images of poverty. You drive through parts of cities where you know 50% of the kids aren’t working and there is nobody there. Maybe daytime TV is pumping out.”

Loach: “There is dire need for a call to arms, but who to lead it?”

“There is a vacuum on the left – we don’t have a movement or a party that speaks for the interests of ordinary people. All the parties from one extent to the other support the market economy. We’re been led down a path that gives us no hope at all. There are so many people outside the Labour Party who would be activists were there a viable party to belong to. People are desperate for an alternative, they just don’t know where to turn.

“People forget the strength they have . . . actually they can stop things tomorrow if they choose to. They could turn the lights off. They could close the shops, shut down the transport, close the factories until things change. If they knew the power they had . . .”

The people gathered at Northfield had a different emphasis; they want to work for change through campaigning. Like Loach they believe that there is much to be learned from the can-do attitude of the 1940s . . .

The Spirit of ’45  film may be seen at

Birmingham – MAC

Friday 29 March
Monday 01 April
Tuesday 02 April
Thursday 04 April

Coventry – Warwick Arts Centre

Tuesday 30 April
Wednesday 01 May
Thursday 02 May

Question: Is banking to blame for poverty and debt?

He writes: “It would good to see you at the meeting I have organised to present my understanding about how banks have gone wrong and what should be done to put it right and get the country and the economy back on track for the good of all. This meeting is for everyone interested to learn more about the flaws in our monetary system and the solutions. Come and feel free to invite your friends who might be interested too.”

Northfield Library (map) B31 2LB – Sat 21st April, 10.30am, Church Road, Birmingham

See his video made on the busy Bristol Road.

Joint meeting: Positive Money and the Common Good party

RSVP: Dick Rodgers 63 Meadow Brook Road Birmingham B31 1ND 0121 476 0789